DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always wanted to write a book. When I tell people my personal story, they tell me I should. I don’t know if I’m the most unique person in the world, but I did come from difficult beginnings, and I have made a successful life. I tell good stories, too. The thing is that I speak well, but I have never been a writer. How can I expect to write and publish a book if that’s not my thing? -- Wannabe Author, Dallas
DEAR WANNABE AUTHOR: There are several options for you to consider to get your book written. Start off by talking into a recording device. Some will record your words and transcribe them into written words. In other words, you can dictate your book and then see what you come up with. You may be surprised to learn that your verbal stories can be edited into a cohesive, interesting book.
I recommend that you take a writing class as well. The type of book you want to write will guide your steps. If you want to write a memoir, that should be an easy class to find. Typically, you will work in a small group with other storytellers who are figuring out how to get their book on paper. You will have a professional leading the class who will give you constructive criticism, and the group members critique each other as well.
This is a good start. When it comes to publishing your book, you have several options. You can go the self-publishing route. Many people like using Amazon CreateSpace, which is affordable and easy to use. What’s tricky is that you have to do all of the promotion yourself in order to get your book published.
Alternatively, you can work to find a literary agent who will shop your book to a publisher -- if the agent thinks it will sell. This can be profitable, but it is also challenging. Do research so that you can make the best decision for you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: All indications suggest that I am about to lose my job. My boss has stopped giving me assignments, and he constantly picks at everything I do. The other people on my job are busy while I am not. I did not get a good review last month. It is bad. I don’t think I have time to turn things around. I have started putting out resumes, but I am not feeling very confident right now. My parents said I can live at home until I sort out my work situation. Do you think I should quit before getting fired and try to find something somewhere else? -- On the Brink, Denver
DEAR ON THE BRINK: Your situation sounds dire. If you have already unsuccessfully attempted to adjust your performance based on the feedback your boss has given you and you believe the time is imminent for you to be fired, resigning could be a smart strategy. While it can be easier to find a job when you have a job, it is tough to not be able to get a good recommendation from a company because you were fired. Submit a resignation letter thanking your company for the experience you had there. Be upbeat and kind so that you can get a positive response in the future. Work hard to find a better fit.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)